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Thread: Maria Butyrskaya

  1. #46
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Over on the Sasha thread, Soogar posted a quote from Maria about her admiration for Sasha's skating, and especially her "soft edges." Since that thread is already overburdened, I will continue here instead.

    Yes, that was a great interview with Maria in Spotlight on Skating. The exact quote about Sasha was:

    SOS (Lynn Rutherford): "You have said that Sasha Cohen is the best skater competing today."

    Maria B.: "I remember when I said that and I still like her very much. She's got beautiful soft edging, she is very flexible and her jumps connect with the music. But when we talk about her as a competitor, I must say that I always look at it in a negative way if a skater changes coaches often. If you run from one coach to another you never get good results...Cohen leaving Tatiana Tarasova and going to Robin Wagner and then going back to California is not helpful."

    About the New Judging System, Maria says:

    (I studied the new rules closely and) "I don't look at them as a positive, especially for the ladies. The beauty of ladies' skating is in the grace and elegance, and now there is too much attention paid to the level of the element. Even if a spin is not graceful, if you can put a level three on it, then it is fine. That is wrong. Our sport should be artistic and beautiful."

    Her take on the 2002 Olympics:

    SOS: "You had a very good season in 2002, when you defeated Slutskaya at the European Championships in Lausanne. Did you think that you had a good chance going into the Salt Lake City Olympics?"

    MB: "No, I did not have a chance....The Olympics is not just sport, it is politics. The U.S. had only one gold medal possibilty, and it was in the ladies' event. The Russian Skating Federation never supported me and always helped Irina. I knew I had a chance at the Olympics if Irina made a mistake in her short program. Then the Federation would help me a little bit....(But) Irina had a clean skate and I was fifth...(with marks like 5.2!) At that moment I knew my Olympic dream was over."

    Mathman

  2. #47
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    I admire Maria when I read her interviews (and that was an excellent interview), but I never liked Maria's skating. She's a beautiful woman who always wore classy costumes and picked beautiful music and had expressive choreography, however I was never comfortable watching her skating. I would literally wince every time she landed a jump because she landed on a straight leg. I kept thinking she would blow her knee out or something.

    However I agree with her assessment on SLC. I think she was sacrificed to give Sarah a better shot at a medal because Sarah had a bad SP. However Maria did have an opportunity to redeem herself in the LP and did not take advantage of that.

  3. #48
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    Nonsense. Maria was not "sacrificed" in the SP, and she was supported by the Russian Federation. Hughes finished ahead of Butyrskaya 5 judges to 4, but the Russian judge went out of her way to dump Hughes while supporting Bute.

    Here were the judges' placements:
    German: Hughes 6 / Butyrskaya 8
    Russian: Hughes 10 / Butyrskaya 3
    Slovak: Hughes 4 / Butyrskaya 6
    Danish: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 3
    Italian: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 6
    Belorussian: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 3
    Finnish: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 4
    Canadian: Hughes 4 / Butyrskaya 6
    US: Hughes 4 / Butyrskaya 6

    If anyone was "sacrificed" in the SP, it was Fumie Suguri, who finished 7th, but was placed 13th by the Russian judge, 11th by the Danish judge, 12th by the Belorussian judge and 9th by the Finnish judge. The German, Italian, Canadian and US judges all placed Fumie 4th or 5th.

  4. #49
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soogar
    I admire Maria when I read her interviews (and that was an excellent interview), but I never liked Maria's skating. She's a beautiful woman who always wore classy costumes and picked beautiful music and had expressive choreography, however I was never comfortable watching her skating. I would literally wince every time she landed a jump because she landed on a straight leg. I kept thinking she would blow her knee out or something.

    However I agree with her assessment on SLC. I think she was sacrificed to give Sarah a better shot at a medal because Sarah had a bad SP. However Maria did have an opportunity to redeem herself in the LP and did not take advantage of that.
    If I'm reading Maria's interview correctly (and LOL it's very possible I'm not) I don't believe Maria suggested that she was sacrificed for Sarah at the 2002 Oly's. My take is that she suggests she was sacrificed for Irina - which makes way more sense given the unfortunate FS politics, and that fact they are both Russian.

    And when I say "makes way more sense" I'm only talking about the screwed up FS historical politics. Not what I thought (or what any other fan thought) about their performances in direct comparison.

    DG

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckm
    Nonsense. Maria was not "sacrificed" in the SP, and she was supported by the Russian Federation. Hughes finished ahead of Butyrskaya 5 judges to 4, but the Russian judge went out of her way to dump Hughes while supporting Bute.

    Here were the judges' placements:
    German: Hughes 6 / Butyrskaya 8
    Russian: Hughes 10 / Butyrskaya 3
    Slovak: Hughes 4 / Butyrskaya 6
    Danish: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 3
    Italian: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 6
    Belorussian: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 3
    Finnish: Hughes 5 / Butyrskaya 4
    Canadian: Hughes 4 / Butyrskaya 6
    US: Hughes 4 / Butyrskaya 6

    If anyone was "sacrificed" in the SP, it was Fumie Suguri, who finished 7th, but was placed 13th by the Russian judge, 11th by the Danish judge, 12th by the Belorussian judge and 9th by the Finnish judge. The German, Italian, Canadian and US judges all placed Fumie 4th or 5th.
    Wow, the classic block voting.

  6. #51
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    Now if memory serves me correct (and it may not b/c I'm not a Maria fan), but didn't Maria have a clean skate and Sarah had a few minor jump errors? Or did Maria fall?

    BTW, since when were Denmark and Finland part of the eastern voting bloc? It looks more like a North American block with the way Sarah was propped up over Maria. I do remember SArah's errors and her skating style... well let's just say there wasn't a lot of style. If Maria was clean, then I don't know how anyone could justify putting Sarah over her (note if she was clean, a fall I can clearly understand).
    Last edited by soogar; 06-23-2005 at 10:39 PM.

  7. #52
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    If you go through the 6.0 files, you will find Denmark always with the slavic judges. Why? I don't know but the history is there.

    With Finland, I believe it is 50% West 50% Slavic.

    One Italion judge is partial to Sasha, but I don't know anymore because of Kostner in the race.

    There are Canadian judges who will not give the US skaters a favorable decision in a close call.

    The Asian judges are not proKwan.

    But all this is gone now with the secrecy. Darn it.

    Joe

  8. #53
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    I just remember how nervous she looked in the short program. However I understand why she feels the way she does. Sarah's skating was kinda off and I'm surprised she was fourth after the SP. It is a shame Fumie was chacked by NBC. I would have loved to see her performance.

  9. #54
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    Soogar, yeah, I never understood what the Danes thought they were getting out of the deal, either. Those were the same four judges who put Irina ahead of Sarah in the LP. The whole thing stinks, if you ask me. You can tell who is going to win just by looking at the panel of judges beforehand. That's why I don't pay too much attention to the Olympics. It's all flag waving and politics, with very little sport.

    Doggygirl, I think that's right. Maria is saying that the Western bloc was pushing Michelle, the Eastern bloc was pushing Irina, and she (Maria) was out in the cold.

    Mathman

  10. #55
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    Soogar, yeah, I never understood what the Danes thought they were getting out of the deal, either. Those were the same four judges who put Irina ahead of Sarah in the LP. The whole thing stinks, if you ask me. You can tell who is going to win just by looking at the panel of judges beforehand. That's why I don't pay too much attention to the Olympics. It's all flag waving and politics, with very little sport.

    Doggygirl, I think that's right. Maria is saying that the Western bloc was pushing Michelle, the Eastern bloc was pushing Irina, and she (Maria) was out in the cold.

    Mathman
    I'd go along with Maria's take on the judges, but I'm trying to find out which countries are members of the Western bloc? I doubt Western Europe is pro American.

    The Amercan people are extremely diversified and I doubt there is any uniformity on Kwan.

    Joe

  11. #56
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    Maria won Worlds 1999 at a time when Irina was struggling with a growth spurt, her weight, and her jumps. But Irina trimmed down and got her jumps back in the 2000-2001 season, and was from that point on was dominant on the World scene. From 2001 on, Irina was far more consistent than Maria, and Maria rarely beat Irina unless Irina's skating was uncharacteristically off (e.g. 2002 Euros, where Irina had problems in all 3 segments).

    In the 2000-2001 season, Maria's skating had slipped to a point where Sarah had beaten her in both the GPF and 2001 Worlds. In the 2001-2002 GP, Maria beat Sarah at Lalique, but that was because Sarah fell in the SP. Sarah won the FS, where Maria fell 3 times, but finished 2nd to Maria on points. Sarah won the 2001-2002 GPF bronze medal over Maria.

    When you look at Maria and Irina in context, Maria really had no reason to expect the Russian federation to support her over Irina if both skated clean. But she could expect, and got, judging support over Sarah and the rising Fumie.

    As I recall, Sarah did not fall in the SP or make obvious mistakes (other than the flutz), but she was slow and uninspired. Maria was clean but was nervous and stiff-legged, as usual. The decision could have gone either way, but Sarah was certainly not deserving of 10th place, where the Russian judge put her.
    Last edited by chuckm; 06-24-2005 at 08:40 AM.

  12. #57
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    I think you're not seeing the whole picture, federation's support doesn't only come from the judges' marks. If Slutskaya skates better, she will get better marks of course. But it's much easier to skate well when you know everyone is supporting you, than to go on the ice with the feeling you have to prove yourself over and over.

    Look at Brian Joubert. Not once I heard him complaining about judging, but to say he has problems with his federation is an understatement. They are constantly creating problems with his team. Just recently there was an issue with him and the ISU over paperwork and who caused it? The federation. How can a skater work well with these conditions?

    There's so much that happens before the athlete goes on the ice and performs in front of the judges. Support is part of the preparation of the athletes. If the skater can't get prepared enough, of course they will have trouble performing at their best.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by mzheng
    Wow, the classic block voting.
    I don't think so - since when have the Danish and Finnish been part of the eastern block? They both had Bute over Hughes and I'd have thought the Slovakian judge would qualify more for the eastern block yet that judge had hughes over bute...i think the russian judge was crooked as hell dumping hughes to 10th. If its patterns we're looking at the US and Canadian judges always seem to mark the same way too...was that the western block holding up hughes
    Ant

  14. #59
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    Maria enjoyed judges' support during the Grand Prix just before the Olympics. She was the only GPF finalist to have won both of her events; many felt Maria was held up by the judges because she was a former World Champion. She didn't medal in the GPF partly because she had had an appendectomy just weeks before the event. Furthermore, Maria came into SLC as the European Champion, so there is no reason why she should have felt snubbed.

    If she got less support from the judges than Irina did, it was because Irina outskated her. Maria had a big problem with nerves at major competitions and it was this that was her downfall, not a plan to "dump" her.

  15. #60
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    About bloc judging, it wasn't the Olympics that opened my eyes so much as the Worlds that followed. Before the skating even began, Dick Button said on TV, "Looking at the panel of judges, Irina will win 6 to 3."

    After Michelle skated, Terry Gannon asked Button, "Was that enough to win?" And Button replied, "Not with this panel."

    Sure enough, the vote was 6 to 3 along party lines.

    When you can tell, before the event begins, not only who is going to win, but also how each individual judge will vote, that must be discouraging to the athletes.

    Mathman

    PS. Antman, yes, for some reason Denmark has always voted with the eastern federations. I don't know why.

    As Joe says, now with secret judging we will no longer be able to back up such observations by statistics. Score one for the ISU.

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